Press Release: Pax Christi USA Hosts National Gathering on Racial Justice

For Immediate Release: August 4, 2016
Contact: Rachel Schmidt,, 202-635-2741 x3311

Pax Christi USA Hosts National Gathering on Racial Justice
Includes Workshops, Public Witness Event, & Teacher of Peace Award

Baltimore, MD—Pax Christi USA will host its 2016 national gathering, “Building the Beloved Community,” August 12-14 at the DoubleTree Hilton – BWI Airport. The theme of the event is racial justice.

“Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, ‘the aftermath of nonviolence is the creation of the beloved community,” Sr. Patricia Chappell, Executive Director of Pax Christi USA said. “Especially with recent violence towards people of color in the U.S. – a focus on racial justice and the beloved community is sorely needed.”

Many educational opportunities will be provided. Dr. Lisa Sharon Harper of Sojourners will be one of the keynote speakers with a presentation titled, ““Racial Injustice and the Personal and Systemic Transformation Needed in Creating the Beloved Community.” Workshops include presentations on the intersection of racial justice with militarism, care for the earth, immigration, Islamophobia and criminal justice.

A time for action and communal dialogue will take place with a public witness event on August 13 from 2 – 5pm in partnership with the No Boundaries Coalition of Central West Baltimore. It will include a neighborhood clean-up and block party at 900 – 1000 N. Carrollton St. Baltimore, MD.

The Teacher of Peace Award will be presented to Art Laffin August 14, 10:30am. “We look forward to recognizing Art with this award,” Chappell said. “Art has worked consistently throughout his life for peace with justice. We are blessed to have his example.”

Laffin is a member of the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker in Washington D.C. For nearly four decades, he has been an organizer, writer and speaker in the faith-based, nonviolent, movement for peace, social justice and the eradication of poverty and war. Laffin is co-author of The Risk of the Cross and co-editor of Swords into Plowshares.

For media inquiries or interviews, contact Rachel Schmidt, Communications Coordinator at or 202-635-2741 x3311.


Pax Christi USA (PCUSA) is the national Catholic movement for peace. Grounded in the Gospel and Catholic social teaching, PCUSA is a membership organization that rejects war, preparation for war, every form of violence and domination, and personal and systemic racism.

Join Us for Our Public Witness

We are partnering with the No Boundaries Coalition for a commUNITY clean up and block party. Everyone is welcome to attend. We hope to see you there!

Share with all your friends and family.

public witness picture

Advent Reflection Booklet Available to Order

Order your copy at the Pax Christi USA store today! The printing is based on how many orders are received, and there will be no extra copies for sale. Enjoy a sneak peek of what’s inside.

book cover

Statement on the Killing of Fr. Jacques Hamel

It is with heavy hearts that we grieve the acts of violence taking place in the world. As people of faith rooted in the social teaching of the Catholic Church we are saddened by the recent brutal murder of Fr. Jacques Hamel during the celebration of the Mass in France, and the subsequent killing of his murderers. We pray for Fr. Jacques, the people who killed him, the officers who killed them, and all those affected.

It is easy to go along with the fearful rhetoric surrounding this event, but we choose peace instead. The signs of the times tell us that there is a preponderance of division among us. We see groups pitted against one another in politics, religion, and society. We see that many forget we are all human and that we all need one another.

Monsignor Oscar Romero, who was also killed during the Mass, gives us inspiration and direction during this time. He said, “I don’t want to be anti, against anybody. I simply want to be the builder of a great affirmation: the affirmation of God, who loves us and who wants to save us.” Romero’s words are the answer. We do not need to blame, we do not need to be against anyone, but we need to be a purveyor of God.

We know the antidote to the division the world is experiencing is love, justice, and peace. Instead of being anti-hate, let us choose love. Instead of being against others, let use practice acts of unity. Instead of fear, let us pray for courage. Romero said, “You cannot reap what you have not sown. How are we going to reap love in our community, if we only sow hate?”

Let us reap love, and ask God to show us what we can do right now to join in the creation of love. Perhaps the answer will be to hug our neighbor, write a loving note, or express unity with a local mosque. If we sit in silence with our Creator, the answer will come. The many prayers and acts of love, peace, and justice we all lift up creates a world where peace cannot help but prevail.

Last Chance for the National Gathering

In order for you to join us at the national gathering, we must receive your registration by Monday, August 1. There is no onsite registration at the gathering.

That means you need to get your registration in the mail today or emailed to Sr. Anne-Louise,, by Monday. Don’t miss out on building the beloved community!

You can also still book your hotel room even though the discounted rate no longer applies.

the end is reconciliation

A World without Nuclear Weapons

Tony Maglianoby Tony Magliano

At any moment, you could be within 30 minutes of being incinerated from nuclear weapons!

You are in harm’s way if you live in or near a large U.S. city or major military installation. And considering that radiation fallout from a nuclear attack would hurt virtually everyone, and cause irreparable harm to our earth-home, we are all threatened by nuclear weapons.

Dr. Bruce Blair, a former military officer responsible for 50 Minuteman nuclear missiles in Montana, and now co-founder of Global Zero – an international organization dedicated to eliminating all nuclear weapons – shared with me a highly dangerous little known fact: Both the United States and Russia each have hundreds of nuclear warheads still aimed at each other.

And what’s even worse, these weapons of mass destruction are programmed at launch ready alert – otherwise known as hair-trigger alert – meaning they are fully armed and ready to be launched within just 30 minutes of a perceived nuclear attack.

The risk of misinterpreted information or system failure could lead to accidental nuclear war. The world has already experienced several close calls.

During the 2008 presidential election, candidate Barack Obama pledged that he would “work with Russia to take nuclear weapons off hair-trigger alert.”

That has not happened.

Instead, to the contrary President Obama has proposed an unprecedented and dangerous $1 trillion modernization over the next three decades of the U.S. nuclear war triade – currently composed of air (B52 and B2 bombers), sea (about 8 Trident ballistic missile submarines at sea at all times), and land (approximately 450 ICBM nuclear missile silos buried in the U.S. Great Plains).

The thought of all this should send chills down our spines.

In their 1983 landmark pastoral letter “The Challenge of Peace: God’s Promise and Our Response,” the U.S. Catholic bishops wrote that a reliance on nuclear deterrent strategies must be an interim policy only. And they firmly added, “We cannot consider it adequate as a long-term basis for peace.”

That was said 33 years ago!

The world needs now the courageous leadership of the U.S. bishops to declare that nuclear deterrence has become an entrenched, intractable part of American war preparation, and, therefore, is completely morally unacceptable.

And that a systematic plan must be quickly put in place to move toward total multilateral disarmament of all nuclear weapons.

Dr. Blair told me that Global Zero has just such a plan.

Continue reading

Human Guns

by Rachel Schmidt, Communications Coordinator

human guns

When will it end?
The fiery bullets penetrate skin
expose the blood so common and red
Ft. Myers, Orlando, Istanbul, Alton Sterling, Philando Castille,
Don’t forget Sandy Hook, Columbine, Syria, Paris, Trayvon Martin

Everyday there are more guns and more blood
I can’t get away from it
The walls start to drip dark crimson
The taste in my mouth is metal and salt
Tears no longer come
There is a spring in my stomach that tightens with every shot

No one ever learns
“People kill people, not guns”
Guns don’t have legs and brains
But when the cold metal hits the hand
And the finger hits the trigger
The gun grows a brain, a heart, and a life
It meets its purpose to destroy

The bodies pile
The rivers run red
Children and parents cry
No one listens
The guns continue to live